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Ebeltoft Group and J.C. Williams Group has been chasing and cataloging innovative retail concepts and trends across the globe for 11 years. In our latest compilation of retail innovation, we identified 3 hot innovation trends that have taken a global presence.

#1: A Passion For Food

An increasing number of concepts launched worldwide enhance the offer and experience in food, providing much more than convenience, quality and prices. Inspired by Eataly and Whole Foods, often blending products and solutions, these concepts address all five senses. And it works!

Case Example: Markthal Rotterdam (The Netherlands)

Markthal is the first of its kind in The Netherlands, featuring a huge, street-level market sheltered under an arch of apartments. Due to its unusual shape, colorful interior and remarkable height, Markthal is a unique and vibrant space, offering a comprehensive marketplace, including dining areas, under one roof. In the first three months it was open, more than 3 million people visited the Markthal.

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#2: Low Inventory

Many innovative formats seek new ways to lower the break-even point and maintain stores’ profitability, despite traffic erosion due to online sales. Asset-light formats are one of the most exciting developments in retail R&D, although very few models have proven successful. Retailers must utilize omni-channel tools and continually reinvent the amount of inventory and assortments in-store to be at their most efficient.

Case Example: Undiz Machine (France)

The Undiz Machine is a compact store, where customers order on digital screens and products are delivered through “tubes,” directly from the stock room, without intervention by sales staff.

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Following the launch of this first store, the brand announced the opening of 20 additional stores in major cities in France, starting with Paris in July 2015. This concept is one of the most innovative examples of a “showroom concept,” which seeks to lower operational costs through deep implementation of technology. The value is in using technology to do more than just create an intuitive and playful experience, but also drive efficiency in the purchasing process. However, once the effect of the “wow factor” has faded, the store will have to convince the customer of its added value.

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#3: Second-hand/No Waste

Another positive trend is the number of concepts addressing customers’ dual quests for lower prices and earth-friendly solutions. The second-use trend is not new, but, this year, several world-class concepts have been identified, especially in northern Europe. We wish them luck!

Case Example: Vigga (Denmark)

Vigga is a subscription service that offers parents the opportunity to dress their children in high-quality, recycled designer clothing, made from sustainable materials, at the cost of only DKK 359 per month (USD 52).

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The sustainable business model of Vigga, built on the idea of the sharing economy, is truly a retail disruptor in Denmark. The clever concept offers parents a whole new way to consume. However, awareness and practice of using sustainable clothing is low among consumers. There is often a belief that it is both expensive and dull. Vigga challenges that perception, hosting events in the company’s “living room” and visiting mothers’ groups. Vigga offers a high-end experience and we see exciting potential in this earth-friendly concept that brings the sustainable circular economy to the next level.

For more on retail innovation trends and concepts, download Retail Innovations 11!

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